Chapter 5 – Finale
Family, Love and Legacy 💞💓👪💓💞
“Your Eyes and Actions Tells ME That You’ll Love Me Everyday. No matter what may come, You Will Be There” – Blacklelee
It was human’s right day; my friend Monica was hosting a fundraising at her church. I still didn’t have a license so, in the morning Thabo accompanied me to Monica’s place to drop off some artwork which I had promised her and Michael went to the office for a conference call with his overseas clients. Later that day I met him at his parent’s place, we had been staying together for about three months, so meeting his parents was already overdue and I had run out of excuses.
Michael: “Hi Babe”
Michael: “Everyone is inside waiting for you”
Me: “I am sweating”
Michael: “I wasn’t sure you would come, I was praying that Monica’s fundraising was going to be an excuse, just be yourself”
Me: “Okay, but do I really have to meet them today”
Michael: “Yes, they have been waiting for you, we have been staying together for a month”
Me: “I don’t think I am ready to meet them, can we just leave and go home”
Michael: “Must I carry you?” he said while trying to pick me up
Me: “No, I can walk”
Michael: “Then come with me, please babe”
We went inside and their house was heaven just like Michael’s house.
Michael: “Fam, please meet Mandisa. Babe, this is my Dad; Simon and my step mom Mary”
Me: “Good afternoon Mr and Mrs Peterson”
Simon: “Hello Mandisa”
Mary: “Hi Mandisa, what your man describe to us doesn’t do any justice, you are beautiful”
Me: “Thank you”
Mary: “And you have dimples as well”
Michael: “Mom, remember what I told you”
Mary: “What? she doesn’t look uncomfortable and I am just complementing her”
Michael: “Babe, don’t worry, you will get used to my mom. Okay, and this is my twin sister, Michelle and her children Todd and Jane” It was a surprise to me, I knew that he had a sister but not a twin sister.
Me: “Hi guys it is nice to meet you”
Michelle: “So you are the one who stole my brother’s heart huh?”
Me: “mmm I guess”
Michelle: “Don’t be shy, we are all glad to see you, we have been waiting to put the name Mandisa to the real face. My brother failed to tell us that you look like a model”
Me: “Thank you” We all took our seats, in the lounge and continue chatting.
Mary: “We all knew from a year ago that he was seeing someone but he kept on denying it” I wanted to correct her, I wanted to tell her that our relationship wasn’t even six months old but I didn’t because deep down I knew that I had fell in love with him the time when I wanted to jump from the roof.
Michael: “Guys I am here”
Simon: “Mandisa, welcome to the family my daughter”
Me: “Thank you”
Simon: “I only have one request from you”
Me: “Okay, Sir”
Simon: “Do not break my son’s heart, and don’t call me Sir, I am about to be your father in law”
Michael: “Dad, come on, you are scaring my fiancée”
Simon: “I don’t see a diamond in her hand, have you bought her a ring son?”
Michael: “I will get her after she say Yes, it should be soon”
Michelle: “Brother, which world do you live in? Why call her Fiancée if you haven’t engaged her”
Michael: “I need to make a business call, can you all be nice please” He left and his father followed him.
Michelle: “Don’t worry, you will soon get used to everyone and our craziness”
Mary: “I hear you are an artist”
Me: “Yes, I am”
Michelle: “My mother she was an artist too”
Mandisa: “She was?” I said while pointing at Mary
Michelle: “No, Mary she’s my step mom, but we don’t use that word, she is just our mother”
Mary: “So, how is your parents”
Me: “I don’t know, I hope they are well”
Mary: “You not close with them?”
Me: “Not by choice, they gave me up for an adoption when I was day old “
Michelle: “I am sorry Mandisa”
Me: “Is Okay”
Mary: “Come ladies, we need to prepare lunch”
We cooked together that afternoon, by the time we finished cooking I was already feeling comfortable, they were welcoming, I was already feeling at home when Michael and his father returned, it was strange that when I looked at them they were just humans, my race and their race didn’t matter.
Michael: “Babe, apparently everyone wants to know when is the big day”
Me: “I don’t know”
Michelle: “She would have set a date long time ago if she had a stone shining on her finger, who asks a woman to marry him without a ring?”
Todd: “Mommy, uncle Michael does that”
Michelle: “Brother, even Todd knows is wrong”
Me: “Mhm I am actually okay without a ring” I said before Michael stoop up and walked around the table to where I was sitting and Kneeled with one knee.
Michael: “Babe, please say Yes” He opened a small box with a huge Dimond ring made up of three rings. I was excited, but saying Yes was saying Yes to a wedding as well. I didn’t want a big day, I didn’t want to have a wedding with just his family and his relatives, I was okay with the idea of getting married to him but not the wedding.
Me: “I am sorry, I can’t have a big day, I am really sorry” everyone looked at me with shock.
Michael: “Mandisa babe, what changed” He said with tears in his face.
Me: “I really do wanna marry you, but I don’t want a wedding and I know that you want a big wedding party, I have no one to invite, the only family I have is Monica”
Michael: “I can leave with that, you almost break my heart, I thought…” he took a deep breath
Me: “No, I love you and Yes to a marriage” Then he took my right hand and put on the ring, to this day I don’t know how to explain what I felt after he put that engagement ring in my finger, I was scared and excited about the future.
Michael: “I love you and I am sorry my dad forgot to give me lessons on how to propose, but I love you even though I don’t have speech” The all laugh.
Mary: “We can just have a lunch”
Me: “Lunch sounds better”
Okay now let’s fast forward to what happened next, I sold the house in Protea glen, as well as the car my ex had given me as a breakup gift. Then later that year I got married to Michael and became Mrs Peterson at the age of 29, we went to Home Affairs and we had lunch at his parent’s place afterwards, it was what I wanted and a month later we went to Honeymoon to Sabi Sabi were it all started.
And before getting married, I managed to find my twin sister, her name is Norma, she was working in Cape Town as maid when I found her. When I had about all the difficulties she had faced, I started to be grateful of my journey and the anger towards my biological parents faded away, my mother had passed away when my sister was five years old and after that my father remarried. At the age of 18 my sister runaway and during her journey she fought drug addiction until she became clean and got a job as a maid. Unlike me, she wasn’t an artist but she was good with food, so after we reunited during my wedding lunch I decided that I was gonna open a small restaurant for her and as I write this, she have now opened three more restaurants, me and her we not so different, we surpass to that what we are good at.
“”” Five Years later”””
It was Saturday morning when I arrived home from last meeting with my PR team, my husband and Mandy were playing hide and sick around the house, it might have been ten minutes when I was just standing there by the door.
Michael: “Hey Mama Peterson, don’t just stand there, come and join us”
Mandy: “Mommy, come play with us”
Me: “We will play tomorrow lala, we have to prepare ourselves”
Michael: “Are you excited about the opening?”
Me: “I am, this is a dream come true”
Michael: “I know babe”
Me: “I was speaking with Monica just now, tickets are sold out”
Michael: “Soon we will be retiring”
Me: “Art is my hobby”
Michael: “I know, your Architecture firm is doing well”
Me: “And yours has just been listed at JSE”
Michael: “Our company Mama Peterson” He said while poking me.
Me: “I have put your suit and my clothes in the car, let’s go, we need to make sure that everything is in place before 6pm”
Michael: “Okay, which car are we using?
Michael: “You really do love my car hey, I think we should take both cars in the main garage”
Me: “Okay take Veneno and I will use Aperta”
Michael: “Good, is Mandy going with you”
Mandy: “Mommy, can I go with Daddy”
Me: “She is thinking that you gonna disappear on her again”
Michael: “I know, no more business trips for me”
Me: “Okay baby, see you guys at the venue”
Me: “Did you forget something?”
Me:” Okay hurry babe, people are waiting for me”
Michael: “You know it had been five years right”
Me: “Yes, babe”
Michael: “I love you, today, tomorrow and forever”
Me: “I love you too babe”
After getting married, people they had warned me about not getting too comfortable with the honeymoon phase, “it doesn’t last long” they said, but the spark between me and Michael was too strong to die. Somehow, I feel like the love my husband have for me tripled after having our daughter who is now four years and not once has he ever made me doubt his love me.
Anyway, I had my architectural firm opposite Sandton City, with more than sixty employees working there. With everything which was happening in my career; me and Michael, we remain humbled. Even though we were staying in the suburb, my Michael understood that township was part of me, once a month we would take Mandy with us to have tradition lunch there and we had our Charity projects running there.
Well, let me go back to that Saturday, it was gallery opening at the same building my architectural company was. When I arrived at the gallery everything was already set, PR team had done a great job. Thirty minutes before everything started, me and my husband Michael we went upstairs to my offices to change. I had over 80 paintings for the opening, half of them where based on my memories with Michael and the rest were pieces I worked on before meeting Michael, they were about me and my journey as Mandisa.
After changing we went downstairs and joined our guests. As I was walking around greeting the guests, I saw my devil from my past, there he was, Mxolisi in flesh. My heart started racing, I took a deep breath and continue walking towards him. Four years prior to my gallery opening I had deposited all of the monies he had sent me as an allowance to clear his conscious, as well as the money for his car and his house. Giving back his money was my way to close the passage to the good and bad memories we had together and somehow, I thought I was never going to see him but there he was.
Mxolisi: “Hi Mandisa”
Mxolisi: “You look beautiful”
Me: “Thank you”
Mxolisi: “I haven’t seen you in years hey, almost didn’t recognised you”
Me: “Why are you here Mxolisi”
Mxolisi: “I am here with my colleagues, on the tickets it said Mandy’s Gallery, only in my arrival I noticed that everything had your signature”
Me: “I didn’t expect you here but please do stay for dinner”
Mxolisi: “I will”
Me: “Okay, excuse me”
The courage in me was extraordinary as I was walking away from him, I felt him staring at my back and I continued with my bold business woman catwalk.
Mxolisi: “Mandisa, please wait”
Me: “What? I need to check on all of my guests”
Mxolisi: “Just want you to know that my marriage didn’t work out “
Me: “Okay, I am sorry I need to go.” Then I walked away but funny enough; I felt sorry for him.
After 8pm all the pieces were sold, and all the guests moved to the dining area.
Mary: “Hi my second daughter”
Me: “I didn’t see you, what time did you arrive?”
Mary: “We changed our flight tickets that we could make it in time, Cape Town is ready for next week”
Me: “Thank you so much, I couldn’t have done this without you and Michelle”
Mary: “Michelle she was just telling me that even Umlanga is ready”
Me: “I spoke to her earlier, she said Carpenters are finishing up, we will finish with Durban opening, thank you Mary”
Mary: “We are a family Mandisa, you have also done the same to everyone in the family over the years”
Me: “I guess we are all blessed to have each other”
Mary: “I think your guests are waiting for your speech”
Me: “I am bit nervous, where is Michael and Mandy”
Mary: “You have nothing to fear, tonight is your night, go to the stage and I will go look for them”
Me: “Okay, tell them to cheer me up”
Mary: “I will, now go” I went and took a Mic from the DJ.
Me: “Good evening everyone, I just want to thank you guys for coming out tonight in number, also everyone who have been supporting me from when I was still a covert artist, everyone who have piece of my work at their homes and workplaces; I say thank you. But most importantly, allow me to thank my in-laws, they have been so supportive, as you all know, we still have Cape Town and Durban opening coming soon and I couldn’t have done it without them.
Everywhere I go, people always ask me about where I get my ideas and aspiration and I am sure you also wonder, just last week I was in Netherlands to receive my award and the media asked the same question; Well, I started painting when I was very young, I painted to fill the void which was inside me, painting kept me alive, painting saved me from make wrong decision. But it was when I met my Husband Michael, where is my husband, babe, I don’t see you, oh there you are, please come to the stage” He came to the stage with our child Mandy who was just four years old. “Where was I, okay: it was this man you are seeing right here, it was him who made me to realised that the world needed to see my talent and not just my neighbours, and to tell you the truth, I wouldn’t have achieved all of this without my husband. My husband he is my miracle.
We have named this gallery after our Princess, Mandy Peterson and not me. Me and my husband we registered this business four years ago but we had so many projects running at the time, including the project to bring this Princess to our planet.
To those who managed to purchase my work this evening, I hope you will be able to see what I was trying to portray, you will notice that every piece has some sort of Darkness, Faith then Light. Most of these pieces they talk about my darkness days and days when I needed Hope the most and Light is my today, my husband he is my light and so is our princess Mandy. I am an evidence that dark days aren’t our last chapter.
Again, thank you for coming, please enjoy the food, music and drinks, please don’t rush, we will close the doors when last person leaves the building.
DJ please play the presentation, I hope you all gonna enjoy this presentation I have put through, it is me telling my own story through the art. Thank you ladies and gentlemen” Michael took my hand and then we walked back to our table.
The crowd stood up and applauded us, as I was sitting down I noticed Mxolisi leaving, our eyes met, he looked disappointed with mixed emotions in his face, it was as if he had just woken up from his nightmare.
After midnight, all they guest were gone including my in-laws, Mandy was already sleeping at my office upstairs, we were about to go home when Michael went to fetch Mandy while I wait in the dining Hall, I was just sitting there reminiscing about my past and the whole journey I had to travel to get to that night, then I had the steps from the main door, I stood up expecting Michael and Mandy only to see Mxolisi.
Me: “I thought I saw you leaving, did you leave something behind?”
Me: “Okay, you can look, on that box there is items which were left behind by other guests, you can start there”
Mxolisi: “I am here for you”
Mxolisi: “I messed up Mandisa”
Me: “Please don’t, please just leave”
Mxolisi: “I am sorry, I confused love with lust and I made mistake by chasing it, but is over now, I am here”
Me: “Please leave, my husband he is gonna be here any second from now”
Mxolisi: “I love you Mandisa, I have never stopped loving”
Me: “You don’t get it, I am happily in love with my husband, I am sorry that your marriage didn’t work out but please, leave”
Mxolisi: “We can be happily in love again Mandisa, just me and you”
Me: “You burnt all the love I had for you when you chose your PA over me, I don’t need a superpower to know that she used you as a ladder to get ahead in her career, I stopped loving you the day after I almost committed suicide in the name of love. And to be honest with you, our breakup was a blessing to me, I ended up meeting a man who understood that I also needed to build my own legacy, I wouldn’t have achieved all this with you, it was always about me assisting you to build your own career and believe me you, I don’t regret my days with you. We were just not meant for each other and that’s okay and I pray that one day you find your real soulmate”
Mxolisi: “I am sorry Mandisa, but I am here now, I was young and confused with my success”
Me: “For the love God and peace, Please, leave now. I am not the Mandisa you left six years ago, I have evolved. So, can you please leave and never come back? “
Mxolisi: “I cannot leave without you Mandisa, I have been lost for too long without you, I need you, I know you still love me, what we had cannot die”
Me: “You are right by saying that “what we had”, it is in the past. I don’t feel anything for you and frankly enough; I don’t remember my love for you, it has faded away with its memories, I am happily in love and a married woman. Please leave now before I call the security”
Michael: “You heard her, leave now or you will wake up at the hospital in the morning” he said, then I realise that he was standing there for a while, Mandy was awake.
Mxolisi: “Mandisa, please, I am sorry, but we can still be together, I can be a good father to your child” As he was busy going on and on two of the building security guards walked in.
Me: “Thank you for coming, please escort this gentleman out”
Michael: “Make sure that you remember his face, he is not welcomed in this building”
Mxolisi: “I will leave by myself, but make no mistake, I am coming for you Mandisa, me and you we fell in love long before you met this white boy”
Michael: “Leave now” The security guards drag him out, it was late and I was tired, all I wanted was to go home with my family.
Michael: “Are you okay?”
Me: “I will be, please take us home, I will come fetch my car tomorrow”
Michael: “Okay, let’s go”
Well that’s my story, and there is nothing more to tell. What more can a woman ask for? I am happily married with a beautiful daughter and awesome in-laws, I don’t know about you, but sometimes you need to lose something good for you to find something extraordinary.